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The Brandenburg Thread

Updated: Jun 27, 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018. Learning a “game” to play, while awake, during surgery so the brain functions can be studied for future use. There are going to be so many doctors and nurses in this OR!

In the fall of 2003, I became pregnant with Kathryn, so doctor appointments for focal dystonia went on hold. I still didn’t know what future I was looking at, but I was so sick during the whole pregnancy that part of me did not care. After she was born, I did more research into what my final steps would be for the music part of my life. More to come on that.

In the summer of 1991, I attended the Aspen Music Festival, and Gary Woodward selected me to play second flute on Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #4 with the Aspen Chamber Symphony. I had just finished my freshman year of college, so this was a huge opportunity considering the level of flute players at this festival. I was one of only a few students playing in this ensemble with the Aspen Festival faculty.

If you’ve ever seen pictures of Aspen, you have a general idea that this city is amazing. Every minute I spent there was one that I loved. Performing the concerto in front of thousands in the audience changed my life. I wasn’t sure why Gary picked me to play the piece, but I was humbled and insanely grateful. For a couple weeks after that performance, people would stop my on Aspen’s streets to ask if I was the flutist on the stage. I was blown away. I’ll never forget that feeling.

Fast forward to 2003 in Dallas. My high school flute teacher, Megan Meisenbach, asked me to play the same Brandenburg part with her and a group from Austin, TX for a Dallas performance. I was thrilled to play one of my favorite pieces with one of my great teachers, and my career was going really well. That was the last piece I performed before my hand stopped working. For almost two years, I wouldn’t be able to play at all.

In 2004, when Kathryn had arrived, and was a baby/crawler, I had still not gone back to seeing doctors or playing at all. I hoped after she was born, I might see some improvement with my hand. I picked up my flute about a month after Kathryn was born, and couldn’t play. That flute went back in the case really quickly.

Kathryn had a lot of toys like many babies these days, but one of her absolute favorites was a star that attached to her Baby Einstein play gym. The star played a mechanical version of the Brandenburg #4! Kathryn would carry around the house in her mouth as she crawled from location to location. I was unable to play the flute, and my child’s favorite toy played a piece that was very close to my heart. Somedays, the tune was a really painful reminder of my loss. Life is funny.

Maybe I’ll play that piece again after this surgery….

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I haven’t blogged in awhile, but I have worked on this article with Angela Bilger! Her website is a trove of information with stories about musicians and our unique struggles. https://www.musicianswel

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